The next GAIL is the “A” for assumption. Farnham Street recently shared an article entitled, “First Principles: The Building Blocks of True Knowledge”. In it the author spoke of the dangers of accepting assumptions without questions:
“If we never learn to take something apart, test the assumptions, and reconstruct it, we end up trapped in what other people tell us — trapped in the way things have always been done. When the environment changes, we just continue as if things were the same.
First-principles reasoning cuts through dogma and removes the blinders. We can see the world as it is and see what is possible.”
We all know the adage about assuming things. “Assumptions make an ass out you and me”. Yet, our brains are hard-wired to fill in gaps so that processing is easier. The danger is that our brains will fill those gaps
How many of us have felt very strongly about something only to find out later that we were mistaken? The strength of our assumptions can lead us to overlook important details and lead to costly mistakes.
So, what to do?
- Identify the assumption. Own it. Test it. Research it.
- If you are contributing an assumption to a conversation, identify it as an assumption. Then, get curious. Test it out with others. Inquire about their assumptions on this topic.
- Develop a growth mindset. Open yourself to the title of “lifelong learner”. Curiosity leads to exploration as well as discovery.
- Identify the “first principles” at work in this situation. Do the assumptions hold up alongside the first principles?
Following these steps will guarantee that old adage need never trouble you again! As always, if you are challenged by this process and want the support of a coach while you work, contact me. (804) 372-7575, or firstname.lastname@example.org